How to change or mount a hard drive

If your computer is a bit old and you happen to be a big gamer or do a lot of creative work that leaves behind a lot of temporary files, you may have run out of space. Luckily, even if you use a laptop, it's possible to increase the capacity of your PC by adding one or replacing the hard drive you already have. Here we explain everything you need to know in the process of changing the hard drive.

What do I need to put a new hard drive?

To add an additional hard drive, apart from the new hard drive, you will need one on your motherboard have SATA ports available, a SATA data cable for each new hard drive you want to put in, and SATA power cables from the power supply.

Hard Drive Toshiba N300 6TB_03 reliable hard drives

If you don't know if your motherboard has free SATA ports, you can do a hardware inspection with CPU-Z software, which will give you the exact model of motherboard you use. Once you look up the information, you will be able to get an idea of ​​how many SATA ports it has for hard drives and SSDs. Generally, if your motherboard has more SATA ports than your PC shows you, you can buy a new hard drive and add it. Although it is possible that it is configured in such a way that two disks behave as one or that one disk has multiple partitions.

How do I enable a hard drive that I have put in my PC?

If you've put in a new hard drive, be it a regular hard drive or an SSD, SATA or M.2, you may need to enable it. Search in Windows “Disk Management”, click on that option select and hold the disk or right-click on it; and click Reactivate Disk to connect the disk. If the disk is in good condition, well connected to the SAT data port on the motherboard and to the power supply, it should appear as an option.

This is normal when ordering a new computer, since the assembler takes care of installing the main hard drive so that the BIOS can use it as a boot disk with an operating system, be it Windows, Linux or FreeBOSD.

How do I keep my files when I change hard drives?

To change the hard drive without losing data, there is the option of doing a clone. Some manufacturers like Kingston provide software to clone, but in case it is not compatible, there is AOMEI Backuper, which does everything you need to clone the hard drive or just the system. The latter is only if we clone to a device with less capacity and we are only interested in copying the Windows or Linux installation that we have on the disk.

Toshiba P300 Desktop Hard Drive
Toshiba P300 Desktop Hard Drive

Depending on the software, during the cloning the state of the original hard drive will be copied to the new one, including the size of the partitions. This means that if we pass it to a higher capacity disk, if we do not configure the size of the partitions, we will have a hard disk with space that will not be used, unless we configure it with the storage manager in the control panel.

After cloning, it will be necessary to make the necessary configuration in the motherboard BIOS or physically change the hard drives so that the new hard drive is the boot disk, with which the motherboard accesses the system to run the operating system .

Cloning a hard drive allows all data to be kept, including operating system settings and browser data, so that after replacing the hard drive you can continue to use your PC as you did before.

How to clone your hard drive or SSD to change it without reinstalling Windows 10

Is it necessary to screw the hard drives to the PC case?

Hard drives are characterized by having internal movements. hard drive disks require physical movement next to the reader to access the information, so it is mandatory to screw the hard drives to the box with the appropriate screws. If not when changing the system hard drive, the hard drive will work, but every time it is used to read or write data, it will move and those small movements will carry over to the entire disk and there will be many small shocks. Over time the disks will be damaged and all data will be lost. With this, you can lose even the operating system. It's not as important with SATA SSDs, but it's a matter of organization.

Is it necessary to RAID the hard drives of a PC when changing the hard drive?

If you are a rather casual user who is going to use the PC for gaming, doing RAID is wasting a lot of the little space you have. Any configuration is going to cause you to lose a significant amount of space unless you have several large capacity hard drives.


A RAID configuration on a PC it is recommended for professionals who use large amounts of data, and that losing them is a serious problem. An example is video editors, which in addition to ensuring that they have the files in large spaces secured, having a configuration that allows them to read data from several discs at the same time is a great advantage.

What is the difference between 3 hard drives and 5 hard drives?

You may have seen that there are different sized hard drive options. The most standardized are the 2 and 5 sizes. At first glance, it is seen that the 3'5 is thicker than the 2'5, but there are more notable differences and they can be important if you don't care about performance, speed and consumption. An important factor that defines these differences is that 2 hard drives are designed with laptops in mind, even though they have been deprecated in favor of SSDs. You can install a 5" hard drive in a tower computer, but it won't be as fast in speed and won't be as space dense as a 2" hard drive.

In the power consumption section, 3,5 drives consume more than 2,5 drives, with 7 W and 5 W on average respectively. If you are using a tower computer, in this aspect the difference is barely noticeable, unless you use a motherboard with many SATA inputs, worse still the difference is barely noticeable, so it will be rare that you need a better power supply. It does matter more when you put it in a laptop, because 2 drives focus on consuming less, so the battery lasts longer, though due to moving parts, any hard drive will drain the battery more than any SSD.

How to know if a SATA cable is power or data?

The SATA power cable of a hard drive comes from the power supply, and is responsible for making the moving elements such as the disks and the reader rotate at the speed necessary to read and write data.

For its part, the SATA data cable is not connected to the power supply, but has both end connectors with the same shape. This is the cable that connects to the SATA ports on a motherboard. If you don't have a free one, you can easily buy it at a computer store.

How to know if a SATA port on a hard drive is for power or data?

Both ports are L-shaped. The port with the longer side is the power port, and the shorter port is the data port. Apart from the size, they differ in the orientation of the slit so that it is very difficult to confuse them physically.

Can a corrupt hard drive cause my PC to not turn on?

If the correct installation of the operating system, or cloning, has not been carried out, it is possible that a corrupt hard drive can prevent your PC from turning on. It may also be due to a bad connection or the correct boot disk not being set correctly. It is also possible if the hard drive has been physically damaged by a bad installation.

For this reason, it is recommended not to throw away the old hard drive in the process of changing units and keep it until the replacement has been carried out effectively.

Can I use a hard drive without opening my PC?

You can use a hard drive using an external reader. But if it is a physical hard drive, you must make sure that the reader can protect the discs against the impacts of the movement generated by their use.

What to do when you change hard drive?

What you need to do when you change hard drives is to back up all important files, whether to an external drive or to a cloud service you have access to, and create a recovery disk.

What cables are needed to install a hard drive?

To change the hard drive, you simply need the SATA data and power cables. If you already have a hard drive installed and are changing it for another hard drive, or a SATA SSD, you can reuse the cables you are already using on the hard drive you are using.

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